Friday, May 27, 2011

Dispatches From Beyond the Books

Jan Carson's "Japanese Maple"
Warwick's is about so much more than books, as you may have noticed upon visiting 7812 Girard Avenue. In fact, books only make up about half of what we offer - there's a whole half to the store that sells office supplies, gifts, pens, fine leather goods, stationery... so much great stuff! How did you miss all that?! 

Anyway, in an effort to highlight some of the spectacular & unique items that we stock, our General Manager, Mr. Joe Porteous will be periodically offering blog posts on some of the products that our crack team of buyers have found that you'll not see in other stores.  

Some of the most unique products in Warwick’s are not even on the sales floor. You might not even notice that we have over 40 mobiles hanging from our “sales ceiling”.

One of our new additions is from Moon-Lily Silk Mobiles, by the artist Jan R. Carson. Carson describes her work as “snapshots of nature in motion.” She makes her mobiles in Colorado using only hand tools with lightly starched silk and fine gauge stainless wire. The lightweight materials and perfect balance make the mobiles dance around the room with the slightest breeze. I put the Stylized Leaf Mobile over my bed. I think it’s why I sleep like a baby.

The Japanese Maple sells for $247.95, and the Stylized Leaf is $187.95, but go to her website if you want to see her whole collection (, and let us know which mobile you want Jan to make for you. You can find out more about the artist at

Don Jose Fabiola de Sevilla or "The Matador"
Another mobile artist team I want to mention is Michael Hatton and Gabriel Stoner. Working out of their studio in Kansas, they use brilliant-colored, sturdy, anodized aluminum, wire and sheeting to create their mobile art. My personal favorite is “Don Jose Fabiola de Sevilla”, or “The Matador.” (I promise that no bulls where harmed in the making of this mobile.) Designer Hatton suggests reading James Michener's Iberia to complement this spectacular mobile, by the way. “The Matador” sells for $225.00, and to see the whole Stoner/Hatton collection, go to

In addition to the featured artists, we also carry mobiles from Flensted (, Hotchkiss (, and Authentic Models ( Our selection starts at around $30, so we have a mobile to fit any budget.

***From Friday May 27th through Sunday June 3rd, mention this blog and receive 10% off any of our mobiles.***

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Are You Seth? vol.13 (Rainy Day Noir Edition)

Since it's such a rare rainy day in May here in San Diego (usually we just have the May Gray mornings without the water coming down) I thought I'd recommend a handful of good, new rainy-day noir books to read.

First of all, you should definitely be checking out the brand new San Diego Noir collection from Akashic Books, edited by Mysterious Galaxy's own Maryelizabeth Hart. This latest in the series of city-oriented noir fiction features stories by SoCal greats T. Jefferson Parker, Don Winslow, and Debra Ginsberg - and even better, you can meet Jeff, Don, & Debra, along with fellow contributors Gabe Barillas and Cameron Pierce Hughes on Wednesday night this week, the 18th of May at 7:30, right here at Warwick's. While, yes, this bit reads like a plug for our event, this is the perfect rainy read, don't you think? Visions of the seedy underbelly of America's Finest City go well with heavy cloud cover and misting Southern California rains, I think. Come to the event, as it's sure to be an interesting "discussion" with these five.

Elsewhere, there's the latest novel from Philip Kerr, Field Gray - the latest in a series of 1940's crime noir that I've been championing for years. Kerr originally wrote three novels about Bernhard Gunther in the early 1990's (now collectively known as Berlin Noir) which chronicled the detective's life as a pre-WWII Berlin hotel detective and just after the war as a private-eye of sorts. Bernie is a throwback to the Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett type of protagonist - a surly, smart, sharp-tongued, ladies man, he smokes & drinks his way among both the bottom dwellers and the upper crust of Berlin society as he attempts to right the wrongs of the world he lives in. This is no small task in Nazi Germany, of course, and his path has taken him into the belly of the beast in books past, leading him to exile in South America. Just as Field Gray begins, Bernie is picked up in a boat off the coast of Cuba in 1954 by American operatives, who proceed to try and get him to fill in some intelligence gaps to avoid being tried for war crimes. Bernie's recollections fill in a lot of the gaps left open by the previous six books, bringing his story full circle back to Berlin 1933, his reluctant donning of the field gray uniform of the SS in 1941, and life in a Russian gulag after Stalingrad in 1945. Of course, Bernie doesn't like to cooperate with any government or their operatives, so he's always working his mouth toward an exit strategy. The best part is that you don't have to have read the previous books, as this stands alone as a brilliant crime noir, much like Alan Furst, if that's your thing.

Since Scandinavian crime novels seem to be the genre du jour these days, I'm hoping you've at least heard of Jo Nesbo from Norway, but I'm guessing not. (You may have seen the Vanity Fair bit on him in April.) Personally, after having read all of Henning Mankell and enough of Stieg Larrson, I can unequivocally state that Nesbo is a far, far better writer than they. His previous three novels to be translated for the American market - The Redbreast, Nemesis, and The Devil's Star - have featured Oslo detective Harry Hole (I'm told that his last name is pronounced "hoo-luh," thankfully) a hard-drinking, Doc-Maarten-wearing, chain-smoking hardass. I loved the previous three books - involving Norway's dark secrets from WWII (Redbreast), a less-than-reliable narrator/murder suspect in Harry (Nemesis), and an underlying thread of violence and mistrust at the hands of one of Harry's fellow detectives which runs through all three. The Snowman, the latest translation to hit our shores, is actually the 7th book in the series, as Nesbo recently switched American publishers, thus skipping the 6th book, at least for the time being. While readers of the previous books may be annoyed by some finer plot points as this one gets going, The Snowman is actually a great starting point for new readers as it remains unattached to the previous books. This centers not so much on Harry's life outside his world of detecting, at least as much as it doesn't intersect with the crimes he's investigating. There appears to be a serial killer at work in Oslo, pretty much a historical impossibility - Norway has never had a documented serial killer. Someone seems to be brutally murdering women around town, leaving a creepy signature snowman nearby each time. Harry thinks the crimes are related, of course, but he has a hard time connecting the dots as the killer stays several steps ahead of him the whole time. The relentless Norwegian press wants answers, putting tremendous pressure on Harry to find the killer, which leads to a huge political mess and even more murdering. I read a lot of crime fiction, as you can tell, and the climactic sequence in this one had even jaded ol' me on the proverbial "edge of my seat," as they say. Good, dark fun.